The Lancaster City Council and Mayor R. Rex Parris are having a hard time with the idea of renewing the contract the city has with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

The main reason behind the hesitation is CARPing. While this may sound like some sort of fishing method, it has nothing to do with fish and everything to do with overtime (OT).

CARPing refers to the sheriff’s department’s Cadre of Administrative Personnel program, where administrative and investigative personnel work patrol assignments as a means of saving money on overtime necessitated by vacancies.

Vacancies have been and continue to be a problem for the LASD — particularly in the Antelope Valley. The Lancaster Station is currently short 21 positions: One lieutenant, two sergeants and 18 deputies. Believe it or not, that’s an improvement from the 38 vacancies that once plagued the Station.

But we digress ... The proposed $27.29 million renewal agreement for municipal law enforcement services would run from July 1 through June 30, 2024, but Vice Mayor Marvin Crist isn’t happy with the five-year contract and would rather do a one-year contract and see if the Sheriff’s Department can correct their shortage issue.

In addition, the city is also working on creating a hybrid law enforcement model with retired deputies, to take care of quality of life issues. This would allegedly give Lancaster Sheriff’s Station deputies more time to focus on emergent, high-priority issues.

Parris wanted to make clear that the hybrid model was not going to replace the current contract with the Sheriff’s Department.

The big question is, why can’t the Sheriff’s Department recruit and retain deputies? The AV Press ran a story a few months ago on their recruiting efforts and reported on how the process is much easier, with testing taking place in the AV, instead of the LA area. The time has also been shortened, so a person can get through the process and become a deputy quicker.

It’s probably a few things that are causing an issue: There is the reputation of the Sheriff’s Department, which may not be appealing to some prospective deputies. Then there’s the fact that the job is demanding, not to mention dangerous. Not everyone is cut out to be in law enforcement. The more we hear about police-involved shootings and police being killed, the less appealing that job becomes.

Despite the issues in recruiting and retaining deputies, we’re not entirely sure that bringing back retired law enforcement personnel is the right choice. After all, they retired for a reason. And what do they mean that the hybrid model will take care of “quality of life” issues? What they plan to do in that area, was not clear. How long have they been retired? One positive to this idea is that they’ve already been trained, so they know how to do the job. But will they be on patrol? Will they do administrative duties?

Though it’s nice to know that Parris is concerned with the deputies and wants to make sure they don’t “feel crushed by this job,” it makes us wonder how he came up with this hybrid idea and whether he’s following a model that has been successful in other places, or whether its something he thought of as a Band-Aid, with no proven record of success. He claims the current contract will not be replaced by the hybrid model, but how can one be sure that it won’t happen in the future?

There are too many unanswered questions regarding this idea for us to be comfortable with it.

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